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Design Philadelphia 2018: 8 things to see and do

There’s a lot to do this week


Another year of Design Philadelphia is upon us, and—just like previous years—the annual event is jam-packed with events for architectural experts (or just enthusiasts).

The popular conference, hosted by the Center/Architecture + Design, started with a kickoff party Wednesday evening, and it lasts through Saturday, October 13, bringing workshops, lectures, design-focused tours, and cocktail receptions to the city. Many of the events will be held at Bok on Mifflin Street in South Philly, where Philadelphia designers will present exhibits, and organizers will hold lectures and talks.

But the week spills out of South Philly, too, with walks, forums, and exhibits to celebrate design and architecture all over the city. There’s a ton to see, so we’ve put together a list of some of the highlights, laid out in chronological order.

If we missed something you think is important, let us know in the comments. There are over 120 scheduled events, after all.

Spin! At the Porch

Once a drab, concrete slab, the reimagined Porch at 30th Street Station is now alive with color and frequent events. For Design Philadelphia, the event is “Spin!”—a design and art installation put together by MIO and University City District.

It features spinning seesaws, artwork, dance performances, and drinks. It’s a fun—and yet still very design-y—break from the lectures.

The installation opens Friday at 6 p.m. and continues until October 13, though the site recommends doing an RSVP.

Night of Lights

Travel away from the bustling South Philly hub of Design Philadelphia, to Chestnut Hill, where the Chestnut Hill Conservancy is hosting an interactive public art exhibit to showcase the neighborhood’s history. Historical images and films will be projected onto the walls of buildings in the commercial corridor, and local business owners will discuss the history of the space. There will even be street musicians, and demonstrations by local metal smiths.

The program starts at 7 p.m. Friday on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

Horace Trumbauer walking tour

As many architecture enthusiasts know, Horace Trumbauer was one of Philly’s most prolific architects, designing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His firm is responsible for the iconic, classical Philly Art Museum facade, and the Public Ledger building, as well as many others throughout Philly and the country. On Saturday, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Philadelphia is holding a walking tour of his buildings, staring at 9 a.m. at the Union League on 140 South Broad, and ending at Rittenhouse Square. The four-hour tour isn’t free, though. It costs between $25 and $55 to attend.

Design crawls

There are a couple of must-see “design crawls” this weekend to add some more fun—and food and drink—to the week. The first is the Old City Design Crawl on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wander through the historic neighborhood’s studios and showrooms, examining local designers and businesses.

The second is the Sensory Design Cocktail Crawl Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Set up around Old City, the crawl encourages you to stop in and see a whole array of designs that appeal to the senses—from a clay pot exhibit to sensual pillows. Also, there is a fair amount of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Elfreth’s Alley Designer Show House:

Every room of a small, 18th-century Elfreth’s Alley Georgian “city house” is getting transformed into a 21st century place, thanks to design studio 36 Craven and Millesime showroom.

“The venture aims to showcase how antique décor can be curated alongside modern living,” Center/Architecture + Design wrote.

The exhibit opens at noon on Friday (with a cocktail reception), and lasts through Sunday. It’s held next weekend, too. But make sure to think ahead—registration is required.

A Philly State of Mind

“Philly is becoming more than just a place on the map, it’s becoming a state of mind that more people are embracing.”

That’s the hook for 20nine/Figure 8 Thinking’s big-picture discussion on Philly next week, called “A Philly State of Mind.”

The brainstorming session will focus on how the city is changing through arts, development and culture, and how it can add more value to the country and world at large. It’s being held on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Curtis Center.

Tour the Rail Park

Okay, so many people have already dropped by the Rail Park to check out the quarter-mile stretch of public space that pays homage to a long-gone railroad. But most people don’t know the whole history behind it—how the city first thought of the park, the road bumps they faced along the way, and the vision for the future. It’s actually quite a story, and one that Studio Bryan Haynes is happy to tell Thursday at 6 p.m. at the park.

Future Architecture

How does design look in the future? Stantec Architecture is going to tell you—or, at least, get a discussion going with their talk “Future Architecture: Episode 1 - The Parametric Menace.

The presentation will delve into the future of design, using director George Lucas’ upcoming museum of Narrative Art in L.A. as an example to discuss how technology is changing the world of architecture, both from the viewers’ and architects’ perspectives. The group will focus specifically on parametric design and virtual reality, and how they have influenced the various phases of the design process. Check it out Thursday at 6 p.m. at the group’s Philly office on 1500 Spring Garden Street.

The Rail Park

North Broad Street, , PA 19123 Visit Website

30th Street Station

2955 Market Street, , PA 19104 Visit Website

The Curtis Center

601 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Germantown Avenue

Germantown Avenue, , PA

Spring Garden Street

Spring Garden Street, , PA

Old City

, , PA